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The Gaming Influencers No One Is Talking About
When it comes to gaming influencers, marketers tend to go after the same things: the biggest names on Twitch playing the biggest games to make the biggest splash. The logic behind the strategy is clear — the biggest net, the biggest audience, ergo, the biggest rewards.
But the biggest problem with this strategy? Well, bigger doesn’t always mean better.
First, these strategies require a significant upfront investment and don’t always account for other important factors like authenticity or audience loyalty. Second, even if a big-name gaming influencer has a large audience, that doesn’t always mean their audience will care about your brand’s services or messaging.
It’s not about the biggest net; it’s about the best net and the right placement for your target. You can figure out the right way to leverage your brand’s specific appeals to different influencers and their specialized audiences by considering the multitude of different lenses into gaming fandom and community.
It isn’t a new lesson for you. Influencer marketing has come a long way, and you can apply what you already know about all the other influencer archetypes and strategies. Think about all the different types of influencer archetypes we already have. It’s not just foodies; it’s luxury restaurants, budget recipes, health, travel, and lifestyle-specific foods. It’s not just fashion and beauty; it’s hypebeast, vintage thrift, clean beauty, upcycling, and high fashion.
So, you don’t need to remake the wheel. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the gaming space and need some guidance on the range of options you could pursue your next influencer campaign, here are some categories of gaming influencers no one is talking about (outside of the gaming community, that is).
At this rate, especially with the pop-culture saturation of blockbuster franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars, you already know that cosplay is huge: just take a look at all the cosplay content that comes out of Comic Con alone. What you may not realize is that the same passion and creativity for cosplay is also just as prominent in gaming communities.
Cosplay not only takes place at these big conventions, but cosplay influencers develop all sorts of content–the types of which are similar to other kinds of influencers. From fashion shoots to DIY tutorials to sketch comedy, there are plenty of inroads for cosplayers to connect with gaming fans on multiple platforms. Photoshoots can be shared on Instagram and Twitter, sketches and lip-syncs can spread on TikTok, and construction processes and tutorials are typically housed on YouTube. The range of possible content also makes for a varied audience — fellow cosplayers, die-hard gaming fans, and even casual uninformed viewers can be impressed by their creativity and craftsmanship.
The most immediate partner fits will directly support the creative process of these influencers because cosplay is inherently an innovative format. These can include:
- Cosmetics, apparel and fashion brands, such as for makeup, wigs, and clothing
- Arts and crafts brands, building materials, and textile brands, such as for fine arts, lighting, electricity, and fabrication
- Media production and software brands like for camera equipment and photography editing.
There are also less obvious ways brands can add value to these gaming content creators and their audiences in courses directly related to their medium. Skill-building sites and e-learning brands may be able to support the DIY and tutorial components of the cosplay community. File sharing and protection software benefits the exchange between photographers or independent publishing of content like sewing patterns.
Speedrunning (and Other Niche Feats)
While esports has been the spotlight mainstay for many marketers, there are definite opportunities to focus on more specialized competitions like speedrunning.
The audiences for these events might not have the headline-making reach of more mainstream esports events, but the communities around them are incredibly invested and engaged. Think of it this way: there are a ton of casual football fans when compared to serious fanatics, but have you ever heard of a casual curling fan? Probably not, because that is one highly dedicated community.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a broad reach if you are to partner with speedrunning competitors. No matter how you shake it, these feats are awe-inspiring. To go back to the curling metaphor, it doesn’t take an expert to be thrilled during the Winter Olympics; you know something cool when you see it. So while you’re focused on the more dedicated communities, you’ll still be able to reach some of the general audience, similarly to the general audiences watching high performance athletes, “challenge” videos or trick shot influencers.
Speedrunning also isn’t the only option when it comes to communities centered around impressive gaming feats. Other influencers can range in their specific niche. It can be competitive (like for rhythm games) or just independently unique (like creating extreme challenge runs). No matter what kind of game or type of gaming it is – we love to see the extremities of human accomplishment.
This content revolves around high performance and achievement. Brands that want to partner with these influencers can center their messaging or services around those same pillars.
- Health and performance nutrition brands like those for nutritional supplements, sports and energy drinks
- Physical health and fitness brands like for specialty exercise equipment
- Mental health and focus brands like meditation services or brain training apps
- Performance apparel like activewear or eyewear
Brands could also support the events and competitions that center these niche outlets providing key components like internet and connectivity services, transportation services, concessions for attendees, and health support for competitors. If you’re struggling to find a direct service for these communities, you can show lateral support by sponsoring trophies, awards, or entire events more broadly.
Hardware and Tech
In this category, it’s less “no one’s talking about them” but more “no one is talking about them enough.” There are some big gaming tech influencers out there, but there’s a surprising lack of diversity in their brand partnerships. Even smaller, specialized hardware influencers also offer a more comprehensive range of potential inroads for marketers, so the relatively underwhelming presence of brand partnerships (even those endemic to hardware and technology) is surprising.
It’s also surprising because, among the types of influencers we’ve covered, this is probably the most familiar territory for marketers. From luxury goods hypebeasts; to restoration, repair, and DIY creators; to fashion, decor, and style curators, you likely already know the tone and messaging to appeal to these influencers and their audiences. However, it’s essential to match your brand’s target audience with that of these respective influencers — this space is one of the more discerning ones when it comes to brand authenticity.
Looking at tech more broadly, there are clear directions for endemic partnerships. Interconnectivity between devices lends itself to networking services, and other gaming devices or peripherals like phones, monitors, and related accessories are highly relevant to these influencers’ audiences.
Non-endemics also have a place working with these influencers. Think about the context of the hardware and tech: what else are consumers doing when they use this hardware, and what else would they use it for other than gaming? For entertainment brands, remember that gaming is just one part of people’s media diet. Streaming services for music or TV are just as relevant. For other household goods, consider the type of home furnishings or other appliances suited for supporting a gamer’s lifestyle.
Gaming consumers are consumers in the same way that mobile phone users or TV viewers are also consumers. They’ll have specific interests in gaming, as well as related hobbies and affinities which intersect with gaming or their gaming products. Think hard about what your brand can bring to gamers. Do the research to find the right influencers that align with your value proposition. Bigger isn’t always better. You can save a lot of time, money, and effort by going for specificity rather than size.
If you need help figuring out how to get specific, feel free to get in touch. We’ll help you find the right fit for your brand.